Sevens

Magical Muller spearheads unbeaten Blitzboks' passage into London quarter-finals

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Muller du Plessis. (Photo by David Van Der Sandt/Gallo Images)
Muller du Plessis. (Photo by David Van Der Sandt/Gallo Images)

The Blitzboks showed composure and incisiveness when it mattered as they safely booked their passage into the Cup quarter-finals of the London Sevens on Saturday by virtue of a 24-21 victory over Kenya.

Despite the perseverance of the Kenyans, the scoreline was superficially close as Neil Powell's troops - who also beat Argentina (26-19) and Ireland (19-12) earlier in the day - laid the platform in the first half.

Impi Visser opened the scoring a shade over 90 seconds into the match as the South Africans made full use of an early set-piece.

The influential Muller du Plessis, relishing his return from a serious leg injury, was prominent in a patient attacking move, making four touches before the powerful, burly Zain Davids straightened the line to provide the final momentum for the try.

South Africa's tight defence then had the Kenyans making unwise short passes, Du Plessis neatly knocking an interception back for Dewald Human to pick up and run down the left touchline for the score.

He was then rewarded for his industry by scoring himself shortly afterwards, feasting on a deft pass to race into a yawning gap and then showing searing pace to cross the whitewash.

In what was to become a bit of a theme, Kenya got onto the scoreboard just before the half-time whistle with a long range score by inspirational skipper Nelson Oyoo.

Emboldened after the break, the Kenyans continued to attack in their own half, initially stunted by some decent tackling before Oyoo disdainfully handed-off Branco du Preez to sprint 60m to reduce the deficit.

But any jitters were soothed by Blitzboks skipper Shakes Soyizwapi, who dished his own double dose of hand-offs to score the clincher.

In fact, had they not gone for an injury-time score, the South Africans might not have conceded the late showstopper from Salem Adoyo, giving the scoreboard a deceptive look. 

The Blitzboks will face Australia at 13:04 on Sunday.

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